What’s Really in Your Drinking Water?

Adults in their 40s and over reminisce about their childhoods when no one thought about where their water came from or what was in it. Buying a bottle of water would have seemed like a waste of money back when everyone was confident about what was in their tap water. Today, many people religiously buy their drinking water because they fear their municipal water provider. But, is that really the best way to monitor what you drink?

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Municipal water has been attacked a lot in the press, unfortunately for good reason. If your home water has a funny smell or is so heavy in minerals you need a bottle of shampoo to get suds in your hair, you’re probably not going to want to drink it for its bad taste, let alone health hazards. Even if your tap water seems fine, the levels of chlorine used by processing plants to kill the bacteria in the water can affect both the taste of the water and your health. Think about it this way; if you buy a pet fish, you’re often advised to fill the tank with tap water and leave it for a few days before you put the fish in. This process is meant to off-gas the chlorine. That’s the same chlorine that will kill your fish if you put it in too soon. If it kills the fish, what’s it doing to you?

Tap water also has the drawback that it is pumped through endless pipes of different materials from plastic to copper to lead in varying states of age and corruption before getting to your home (which has pipes of different ages and materials, too.) Even if it was well-purified at the municipal plant wholesale pipes, who’s to say what could have been picked up on the way to your kitchen sink?

The worry about tap water has lead to a boom in the sales of bottled water. Something that you used to get practically free now costs more per gallon than gasoline. Everywhere you look there are bottles of water that say they are from natural springs, artesian wells and pristine glaciers. The fact is, many of the big companies use the same water sources that municipal water comes from. Some even buy the municipal water then filter and treat it pretty much the same before bottling and selling it to you for a big markup. In many ways, what you’re really paying for is slightly better water in a plastic bottle with a pretty label. As bottled water is overseen by the FDA instead of the EPA – as with municipal water – it is actually less monitored than municipal, especially if it is sold within a the state it was bottled. Environmentalists would also argue that manufacturing the thousands of plastic bottles actually does more damage to the environment than just going ahead and drinking tap.

So, what’s the solution?

You might try a filtered jug for your drinking water, or an under-the-sink system for the kitchen. For many, the obvious choice has been to buy their own in-home water purification system. With a home system, you monitor your water, not an outside source. You can filter out all those chemicals and minerals to get fresh, healthy water out of every tap. And while it may seem that the up-front cost is expensive, you have only to weigh against the price of buying all those bottles each week to see the savings. Plus, you get more than just the benefit of healthy drinking water. You’ll find your wash comes out brighter, you use less cleaning supplies, and that pet fish is much happier in his tank!

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